Someone’s got to stand at the door waving,
then busy up the empty house, clear the table, dishes,
her face. Someone’s got to wash away
that smear of relief and regret.
Someone has to keep the birds in check,
break a few speckled eggs, then cry
as if it were all a cruel mistake. Because the eggs
are ruined. Because we never get back
that feeling of lying in the grass, breathing in
the soft earth and the whole of summer before us.
We love celebration, the smell of fireworks,
but we work too long and forget to pick up milk.
We don’t notice or agree. And it’s too easy
to hit someone’s hand with a ruler. And a hundred times
is too many. We need to forge a different taste,
give it a name and shape,
then send an arrow through it. So we can hold
each other. So the phoebe can re-use its nest.
So the flowers can bloom. So the loyal dog
can travel half a continent and return home,
limping and proud. So conversation can be more
palatable than absence — like cotton candy —
sweet, and then nothing. Even so, it anchors us
when we think we might blow away.